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Re: Re: Re: Cultural deficit in new clothes

Posted By: Allen Lambert on June 30, 2009
It is not clear to me what Ms. McCray intends by her comment which seems to be a reply to mine. Is she contradicting or clarifying something I said? If so, I see neither.

As a sociologist I am well aware of victim-blaming perspective. As a teacher, spouse of a 35-year elementary school teacher, and former school board member, I am also more aware of complexity of reality and practitioner perspective.

One point I made was about balance -- there is SOME truth in most perspectives about human behavior, as well as some falsity, and some abuse as well as some benefit. And there are multiple truths or perspectives (each with some truth). So a single principle seldom, if ever, accounts for even half of the variance in any human behavior. So, how one puts the complexity (of theories as well as reality) together is important. Which means giving credence to the degree of truth and its practical utility of each contribution (as well as engaging in critique).

Of course not all individuals in a given political or social system subscribe equally to the central tendency of a culture. So? Does that does not change anything I said?

Of course we evaluate another culture in part against our own. But there are few people and fewer social scientists who would argue in defense of the kind of values manifest in Stalinism and Nazism. Which were not merely regimes, but dominant cultures (because imposed by military and political power and terror. And which could not have survived without extensive support).

Do some urban subcultures transmit some skills and values relevant to modern work? Yes. Is that a contradiction to anything I said? No. What I said about prep for mainstream work remains true, and not just a "value", but an empirical finding.

Should we consider "how access, power, and gov't contribute ..." Of course. But I said there are also other factors, including some addressed by Payne's approach which many practitioners find useful. For which some credit is due.

Just as some structures are more effective and humane than others, so are some cultures (or cultural variations).

What are the "real issues"? More complex than just power and domination approaches. And more complex than limited theories admit or handle.

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 Cultural deficit in new clothes by Adrienne Dixson on May 25, 2009
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